Canning and a camera question?

In between making roman shades I have been canning.
Some of what I have canned...

4 half gallon jars of pickles. I canned these in half gallons because the cucumbers were bigger and I like them whole (though I did have to cut some in spears and half lengthwise to pack the jars tight) we love dill pickles so having them in half gallon jars works for us. We can eat a quart of pickles in a week around here so no worries they will go bad sitting in the fridge once opened. I eat dill pickles for snacks a lot. I have always loved them.
 Pickled Juliet (cherry) tomatoes.  In the jar, grape leave, onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper. I put the recipe up oh my blog last year for these. :O).  I have also canned a gazillion quarts of blackberry juice. I have also done 15 jars of "rotel".

The garden has not made this year like it did last year, good thing I stayed with it last year and canned the 400 jars LOL. Because that is what will carry us on some items till next years garden! We have been enjoying fresh eating though and that has been nice. Just not enough extra of a lot of stuff to put up anything. 

Now for the camera question, my camera the flash will not go off on it. No matter what I do. I can hear it or I think I can going off. So this is my question. I am wondering if the light bulb burned out? Do these cameras do that? Its such a teeny tiny little spot where the flash is on this camera. Anyone just wondering if anyone else has ever had the flash burn out on these cameras that take the memory cards? I have a Kodak C180 camera. I have not had time to even google or research anything on this. I really hope it can be fixed easily and cheaply. I was not really looking to buy a new camera right now sighhhh.

The right tool for the job and more finished roman shades.

I was nervous, this was expensive fabric. Its always a bit nerve racking to cut into really expensive fabric.  I don't care how long you have done something or how well you know how to do something. We are human and mistakes can happen.  You always hope if you do make a mistake and wound up having to replace a customers fabric due to your error its not on over 100.00 yard fabric. LOL   So ya one gets nervous, but usually it all turns out fine. Luckily the mistakes are far and few between, but you never want to get cocky LOL or else it will bite you in the hiney.

Customer ordered two roman shades. First photos... cut out.

 Close up of fabric. It was a bit tricky cutting them out, had to figure out the best placement of the design on the size of shades... Where to start the pattern and end it etc. I think the choices were good.

                                                             Let all the way down

Party way up

Pulled all the way up 

My drapery work table is 60" wide by 144 inches long, fairly standard size. However I have been getting orders for roman shades wider than 60".  I can tell you making a roman shade with part of it hanging off the table and then having to move that roman shade several times more than you would have had it all fit on top of your table is a toot! It adds a lot of time to the process and it also leaves you open for issues.

The right tool for the job
Honeyman to the rescue, he built me a extension for my table. I have it all covered in batting and the canvas my table is covered in.  We are just waiting on the extension brackets we ordered that will work like a drop leaf table. I can pop it up and it will lock into place when I need the extra width. They have releases that will easily release and let it down when I don't need it.  I have a yellow ruler and metal ruler track ordered for it as well  like the yellow one you see to in the photo below, those are on both sides of my existing table, the extension obviously will only have it on the outside edge. I also ordered a 96" metal drapery ruler since my longest one now is 72".  The metal drapery rulers will last a lifetime nearly. I have had the one I have now for over 20 years.
This is going to make my job so much easier on those big roman shades!

Business is good

Still here just working A LOT.  But that's a good thing right! :O)

I will be back with a decent post soon.

Stinker pattern match, but I got it

This is the fabric I am making roman shades from now. Its linen, it stretches and its got a million points to be pattern matched. One of the roman shades made from this will be a bay window roman in three sections. So one wide section that has two seams / patterned match to make it the width it needs to be and then two small sections that will be the angle side pieces.

I pinned it in this first photo to get my pattern match. I then ironed a crease in it and then I hand basted in the ditch on that crease with 1/2 " long stitches to hold it perfect while I was sewing it. After sewing you take out the long basted stitches.
Below photo: I have sewn it and taken out the basting stitches and you can't even see the seam :O) That is the goal!
                              Below photo:  A close up of the seam sewn in :O) I had two of these seams, both seams turned out great!
Thats it for today, gotta scoot as I took another order from a client that I will be picking up material for this week. So I need to get these done this week, so I can start those! :O)

Gladiolus in the garden on a pretty morning

Someone woke me up way to early snoring this morning  :O(.  But someone worked so hard outside all day yesterday I didn't have the heart to poke that someone as I wanted him to get his sleep in. I just got up instead at the crack of dawn, ummm not my normal time I can assure you. In the end it was kind of nice because it was cool outside and a bit foggy. Sun was coming up, Very pretty.
 Goaties weren't even ready to get up yet.
 This year when I ran onto gladiolus bulbs and Stargazer Lily bulbs on megga clearance I got several bags.  I planted them in with my vegetables. I put them in the center of the rows and some on the ends of rows etc. my thinking was the tomato cages and tomato plants will hold them up. I also cage my peppers. I thought they would be pretty sticking up all in the garden with the veggies  :O) and hopefully draw more bees to the garden as well. The gladiolus are starting to bloom. We don't have to dig up bulbs here to overwinter them inside. We can even grow Amaryllis outside and leave them, now they do need to be the outside variety not the inside ones that won't take a freeze. I thought of this idea a bit late to do all my rows but I have more gladiolus in the refrigerator that I am going to plant when my veggies are done, I have found gladiolus bulbs will stay good months and months in the crisper drawer of the fridge. When honeyman saw my crisper drawer full of bulbs he just smiled and shook his head. I assured him I was not taking over the whole refrigerator with gardening stuff just the one crisper drawer :O).

I did cage some early on before I thought DUH the veggies and their cages will hold them up LOL

 I filled under this trellis I am using for cucumbers as well. Not sure exactly how this will work out as the cucumbers usually totally cover a trellis but I thought maybe the flower heads being so big would peek out. I figure with a bit of help I can move the cuc vines to let the glad flowers come out. Since my cucumbers are so small on this trellis yet, doesn't look like I will have to worry about seeing the blooms.

Plums, garden stuff, two me's

Ever wonder who your talking to on a blog? I do and I enjoy seeing who every one is.. soooo
This is farmer Texan :O). I had been outside for a couple hours working when I came in to put up the plums. Honeyman said I should take a pic with my get up on as he called it and my dishpan. This is the way he usually finds me when he gets home from work lol covered in dirt, hair going everywhere, total mess lol, been outside as much as I could be all day doing this and that ... I always tell him sorry I look like something the cat drug in the back door but I have been busy ROFL..(except on the days I work on drapes)

I love that enamelware dishpan it makes me think of my grandma that raised me. She picked the garden with a dishpan very much like this one. Ok so this is the worlds worst picture but it was hard to take in a mirror holding a big dishpan which honeyman insisted had to be in the picture ROFL... Would have had him take it but he was busy cutting broken tree limbs from earlier storm damage. I managed LOL... Taken today.. I am pretty sure as soon as Vogue sees this I will be getting a call right away! They are going to want in on this new fashion trend  :O) ... rofl rofl

What a difference a shower makes and a different "get up" as honeyman said lol...
This is from this last winter, right before my 50th birthday in January. This is Interior Designer Texan, dressed for work. I was headed down to the Design District in Dallas to pick up some stuff . New outfit so took these to send to my best bud so she could see it.

I got quite a nice little group of stuff today from the garden. Since my other plums I picked  have ripened to a beautiful Merlot color I decided to pick the rest of the ones on the tree that the bugs had not eaten up, bring them in and let them ripen as well! Honeyman  said the plums were super good flavor, though small. I for sure have enough to do plum sauce between the two pickings!

A nice picking of blackberries this morning, few Jalapenos, Zucchini gold and striped, to sad little tomatoes, some asparagus which is still making a bit.
 I took this picture just for Mr. Preppy. See 8 filled my whole hand.

 This is the last couple days of Zuchs including today's pick. The striped Zuchs are in over drive :O) We eat Zucchini  every day now :O). Just wanted yall to see this pile :O)

Better way to juice and can unsweetened undiluted blackberry juice!!!

I have found the method I love for juicing and canning blackberry juice! I get a lot more juice this way, then doing the add water boil and squeeze out method. Its thicker richer juice as its not diluted with water at all. I can it unsweetened. (but you can sweeten if you want to) But I leave my unsweetened so I can use it later for drinks, making jelly, making wine, etc. etc. No limits as its seedless undiluted unsweetened juice! Plus this way the berry juice is only heated just to a boil before jarring so its cooked a lot less thus saving those all important vitamins, minerals etc.

I used my champion juicer! It works super ..  the berry pulp in the dish to the left is almost all seeds very little pulp actually. Not all juicers are the same type, I can't say if all juicers will juice blackberries this effectively but I can say the Champion Juicer does. Mine is 20 plus years old and to date the thing has never failed me. Nope not affiliated or getting anything for mentioning this juicer. Just sharing how I did this and what I used to do it. Ever so often stop and rinse out your shoot part on the juicer as the seeds will get in the upper shoot and make it harder to use your plunger. I did this for about every quart or so of juice.

 This many (washed) blackberries on a kitchen sized towel and I got 2 quarts of juice! (granted these are my kiowa large berries) but still this method gives every drop of juice.  That is amazing to me. Much more than I was getting from the add water cook on stove and squeeze out method.
 Its a thicker consistency.  The flavor as you can imagine is outstanding.

 You can kind of get a idea of the thickness by this picture of it on the spoon. Those are air bubbles you see dotted in it. Bring just to a boil on medium low heat, if you get foam gently scrape that off the top.  Put in sterilized jars your choice on size. Hot water bath for 10 minutes no matter what size jar you use. Pints or Quarts both go at 10 minutes my book says.
 So all in all it took me only a few minutes to juice out 4 quarts and one Pint and half jar of juice!

So then as I was cleaning up .. I saw my bowl of the seeds and pulp from juicing... As I said mostly seeds... I thought ... mmmmm look at all those seeds.... I looked closer, yep in tact not at all broken or chewed up ... so you guessed it I am saving some seeds! Did a search on google just to make sure I was thinking right and could do so. Sure enough its a go. I have enough seeds from this one juicing session that I could dry a gazillion  lol. You ask why I would save seeds when rooting them off my plants has proven to be so super easy. Well for seed swaps of course :O) and to share with people that I can't get a plant to them but I could send seeds :O)

UPDATE: Well I got to thinking I have some other blackberry plants too. I will need to do further research and see what this means as far as saving seeds and how that will affect the outcome of the plants grown from these seeds. I did manage to save all those seeds LOL yes all of them. I found that if you cover with totally with water the tiny piece of pulp float to the top and the seeds sink. So then all I had to do was scoop out the pulp wiht my tiny little hand strainer and it left me with the seeds! Now will I  keep these I don't know. It depends on what I find out when I have time to research if the other berries I have will make these not be fully Kiowa Berries Plus I have picked a handful of berries from those other plants so those seeds are mixed in but that isn't my biggest concern, the cross pollination is. The other berries are nice berries as well so getting one of those plants mixed in wouldn't be the worse thing that could happen. But a mixed up blackberry not knowing what it is LOL might not be so great,so we will see  lol

UPDATE on update.
Saving seeds is not a plan. For several reason, cross pollination is one,,, and the fact that apparently once you rinse blackberry seeds and get the pulp off you need to immediately put them in some peat moss shake in a bag and put in fridge to begin the stratification process because they don't do well from dried seeds. The seeds will actually start to sprout in the bag in the fridge so I read... Well ok so it was worth a thought right.. Just not a go... so now those like me that didn't know....know :O)

sad little plums

Well yall know I was very excited about my fruit trees, they were loaded up this year for the first time since we planted the orchard. Well Kev,,, you were right don't count your fruit before you get it off the tree ROFL ROFL... With the daily non stop rain we had for weeks on end I didn't get to spray my trees with tobacco  tea spray as I had planned. Its suppose to be very effective to keep the bugs off your fruit. Needless to say the bugs have had a field day with my fruit. My nectarines are a total loss. I got these plums and I am watching a few green ones left on tree and soon as they get any color on them at all I will pick and let finish ripen in the window. I didn't know if picking them green if they would ripen so I didn't pick them today. Some of these as you can see need to ripen. But none are totally green. Jury is still out on what is going to happen with the peaches. My pears look good.
 They are small and they are not perfect, far from it. But I can cut out the bad spots on these. The others were so bad there was no way to salvage any meat off them. 
I make vegetarian eggrolls quite often, we love them. I was so hoping to can some plum dipping sauce for them. I think I can one batch of plum sauce.  I am going to be tickled if I can manage that.  I will feel like all was not lost on the plums :O)

I can tell you picking fruit off a 8 foot ladder was a bit tricky.I climbed up into the tree at one point. I am not very big so the limbs could handle me standing on them and using them for support. But not really a ideal way to pick lol.  I think I am going to start working on topping the trees out. Except for my pear trees. I don't think I will do them that way.  Any of you guys do that? Keep the trees limbs cut flat on top for picking ease? I see it done at all the peach orchards around us. For ease of picking and bug control.

When my best bud came up recently to go on our girl trip, she brought from her garden some tomatoes, cucumbers, squash. Her garden is a few weeks ahead of ours,  amazing what 3.5 hours time can do in Texas to your climate.  I saved seeds off some of the tomatoes as I didn't have those varieties. We are constantly plant sharing and seed sharing etc. If I have an over abundance of something that didn't make for her she knows she is welcome to it and she is the same by me if she has more of something than she can use she will offer it to me. Being only 3.5 hours apart we can make a canning trip to each others houses and we have. We show up with boxes of jars, supplies for what ever we are going to can and then we can up for that person what ever it is :O). These are all cherry type tomatoes in size... Minnie Orange, indigo kumquat, mexican midget, snow white ( wasnt sure I had that one so I saved the seeds) and Yellow Pear.  To bad all seeds are not as easy to save as tomatoes! :O) These have been soaked in water till moldy to remove the gel sacks off them, then rinsed, drained and dumped to dry.

Blackberry and green tea

Blackberry concentrate from my bowl of blackberries.

I love blackberry juice in my green tea which I drink nearly everyday. Found a organic green tea that is by far the best I have ever had  its called Prince of Peace if your in search of a super green tea.

 I turned my first bowl of blackberries into blackberry concentrate and canned it in small jars for my tea.  Yummers
My Organic Blackberries, Organic Honey, Distilled Water, Organic Lemon Juice

Blackberries, todays pick

               This mornings pick, the dab of sun we got yesterday really kicked them into gear.

These are Kiowa Blackberries, to my knowledge the largest blackberry we grow in the states. They are not thornless, they have mean thorns but the pay off is the huge berries. They are invasive so choose where you plant them carefully.

busy busy, digging elephant garlic and garden update

Ok first off let me say we are fine. Our farm our home etc. has not flooded. I appreciate the emails from you guys asking if we are ok. Luckily we are good. We are in standing water like I guess every other person in  a large part of Texas but no serious flooding at our farm. I am posting this here so I could answer every one at once sorta.... I am so pinched for time, my email box is full but its going to have to wait. :O)  My post are going to be a bit hit or miss for a bit. :O)

I am going to do a long but fast post so excuse the typos okie dokie. I have more roman shades to make :O). The garden needs attention now and I am starting to harvest some things. Just got back from Arkansas. My best bud and I had a super time and giggled so hard a few times we were in tears. Its rare to meet another person that you click with in every area. Your two peas in a pod. I feel very lucky indeed to have such a good friend.  We drove on a road that was .....well there are no words for it and it will always be one of those things we look back on and say remember....... LOL..... then we had to put my Subaru in XMODE to get down one spot (xmode the car can take extremely steep decline ).. whew... 
Its funny now but it so wasn't while we were on it! 

Today I dug some of my elephant garlic as I was worried it was rotting. I knew it was getting close to time to harvest but with all the water I was worried it couldn't go much longer. It looks good, a lot of its nice and big too! I left some in the ground if the tops looked like it could take some more time to grow. I decided to use my little greenhouse, the little green shelves you see that have a cover as drying racks! I always read to not wash your garlic or onions when you pull them. To knock the loose dirt off and then let them dry like that. Well this year since I am digging in some serious mud there was a ton of it stuck to them. I got off as much as I could without bruising that fine outer layer that is papery when they are cured. As they dry I am sure a bit more will fall off them if I brush them gently.  Since we are at nearly 100% humidity right now every day and have been with all this non stop rain I hope they will cure ok. I have them inside the garage.

 Some looked like the below ones, more like onions than garlic LOL.. but the tops were just gone on these so I dug them and the stalks were starting to rot in places. They will be edible I am quite sure so oh well they don't have quite the size or the pronounced individual looking cloves.
 Below are the little bulbettes LOL that is what I call them anyway. I have no idea what the right name is for them..... They are on elephant garlic when you dig it.. Last year I just broke them off and stuck them right back in the ground. This year I am not doing that as I am hoping it will dry out some and then I will put them back in the ground.  I am afraid they will rot if I stick them back in now if we continue to stay this wet.

 Not knowing if they would do anything ... the garlic you see below in with the raspberry plants (I have yet to get dug up and moved)  are those little bulbettes from last year! When it first started coming up I thought I didn't plant garlic there how did all this elephant garlic get here LOL... Ya the brain at 50 tries to play tricks on you rofl rofl.. I then finallllly remembered I had stuck all the bulbettes off my elephant garlic last year where these were all coming up.  I have not dug any of these yet. The tops look a lot better on these so they can stay in the ground longer. It maybe too that is the very reason they are not ready to dig. Because they grew from tiny bulbettes instead of large cloves of elephant garlic. I am curious to see what I get.

some of my Zuch plants look like this 
 Some look like this. Since I garden in raised beds my garden is managing pretty good I guess really. I know some people who have totally lost everything. Their garden is under water literally and gone. I hate that for them.

I am just starting to get some off my plants now. the big striped one is from Franchi Italian seeds ( I am VERY impressed with every seed I bought from them and I will be a customer of theirs from now on, ya'll might want to check them out) (I am not affiliated in anyway at all with them just a happy customer) the seed quality was excellent, the germination rate was top notch and the plants are some of my first to put on) the yellow Zucchini is from Baker Creek / golden zucchini. Don't remember who the green came from its just your regular green Zuch.

Because we have stayed so cool so long (totally not like here) and because we are swimming in water my onions have had yet another hurdle to over come. Yall know they had a super rough start during the winter as well. So really over all I feel like they are looking pretty good given what all they have been through. I decided to plant some of my trailing squash in the row even though they were not ready to pull.  Usually by now my onions are out and I have my row back for squash or what ever. I hoped they would grow around the squash and they have!
 Yes some of the tops are rotting but the bulb feel firm still. I am watching them close and will be pulling them very soon. Just so much water.
 If you enlarge the photos you can see I have some real nice sized onions under that squash plant lol

red onions are not doing well. I put them in two spots and neither group is doing a whole lot.  But they will be edible. 
Cool temps and so much rain, my peppers look pretty bad. None of them look to good. But I am hopeful that as soon as it dries out some which I think surely it will we are at June. Plus its starting to warm up now. I think they will rebound. Keeping fingers crossed.

Cucumbers again slow to get going but they are getting a nice foot hold now. I have two other trellis of these this is the nicest looking of course LOL. Didn't take a pic of the itty bitty ones lol
 Eggplants seem to like all this rain and no sun and cooler temps. Which is odd because that is all backwards of what I thought they liked LOL
                                   Some happy swiss chard.

The tomatoes are struggling bad. I have some that look like the first photo (not many over all).. and then I have a lot that look like the second photo. They are gone will have to replant. See if that works out. They simply haven't been able to handle the vast amount of water.

 All four of my Fuyu Persimmon Trees are doing super good! I was so very worried for them. Being they were bareroot when I put them in last fall and they have just been in water non stop since! But they all leafed out and are growing! The two I started from seed are still in pots and are doing great too!

Looks to be a bumper crop of blackberries! They are just starting to get ripe now. I am planning to try  my hand at blackberry wine this year :O)